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Pat Vendrely ’85
A team player, from Maple Leaf athletics to the World Cup

By Erini Shields ’07
pat vendrely at goshen college soccer complex
The 2006 FIFA World Cup was watched around the world by more than 40 million television viewers and was attended in Germany by over three million people. Most went to the games out of devotion and loyalty to their country and love of soccer – but for Pat Vendrely ’85, it was part of the job.

Vendrely, president of TGI Systems based in Chicago, was hired to produce all of the signage for this year’s World Cup. “It was a great achievement to be able to work on that world stage,” said Vendrely. His business, established in 1997, has the first and only patented static soccer field signage in the U.S., which is known as the AdTractm stadium signage system. TGI Systems specializes in the production, installation and management of large-format graphics and advertising systems – especially for sporting events and properties. Besides the FIFA World Cup, TGI Systems has also created signs for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, along with Chicago-based sports team arenas for the Bulls and the Blackhawks.

Beyond personal satisfaction, he expressed great pleasure that his company had the honor of providing the largest component of media at the World Cup, especially since soccer is not very popular in America. Vendrely said that his global awareness was a direct result of his Study-Service Term in Belize as a GC student, where he learned to “know what goes on in the world, not just [in] my town or city.”

Vendrely’s involvement in sports came at a young age. His father was a basketball referee and his mother was a high school athletic director. “It’s about what sports do for people, physically, mentally and emotionally … I’ve always wanted to be a part of that, whether participating or observing,” he said.

Along with playing basketball and baseball at GC, Vendrely also helped with the intramural program during his four years as a student. He was a physical education major with dreams of becoming a coach and a teacher. After attending graduate school at Indiana University, Vendrely held an internship with the U.S. Olympics in which he traveled with the team to Barcelona in 1992.

In 2000, Vendrely was asked to help establish and chair the Maple Leafs Athletic Club (MLAC). Since then he has assisted in organizing numerous fund-raising events to support Maple Leafs athletes. “Just because I’ve graduated doesn’t mean I’m off the team,” he said.